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James Joyce and Literary Modernism

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by stepping back in time to Dublin, Ireland, June 16, 1904 and the world of "Ulysses."

James Joyce (1882 – 1941) is one of Ireland's most influential and celebrated writers. His most famous work "Ulysses" (1922) was considered to be the novel of modernism.

Modernism is a period in literary history which started around the early 1900's and continued until the early 1940's. Modernist writers in general rebelled against clear-cut storytelling and predictable verse from the 19th century. Many writers wrote fragmented stories which reflected the fragmented state of society during and after World War I. Some wrote using numerous points-of-view or even used a “stream-of-consciousness” style. These writing styles further demonstrated the way the scattered state of society affected the work of writes at that time.

"Ulysses" famously takes place over the course of a single day—June 16, 1904—in Dublin, Ireland. Much of Joyce’s energy is expended on recreating Dublin, from the smells and sights to the layout of the streets.

To this day, one can walk the city, following in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, and see much of what he would have seen.

Yet when he wrote the book, Joyce hadn’t lived in Dublin for years—he wrote it, almost completely from memory.

Presented by Kenneth Womack, Ph.D. Professor of English at Monmouth University.

TAGS: | Lecture |

Bridgewater branch
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